The standup paddling community sustained a devastating blow on Sunday when word got out that 25-year-old rising star, Sophia Tiare Bartlow, was killed in a car crash on Oahu.
Champion in the rising
Longboarding champ, sup racer and the girl with a great golden smile. That’s how Sophia Tiare Bartlow will always be remembered. Known for her stylish moves in the surf as well as her tenacity as a sup racer, Sophia Tiare Bartlow, was one of the North Shore’s golden girls. She took to everything she did with a vigor and a passion which inspired the folks around her. Her mom, World Champion surfer Jericho Poppler and founder of the International Professional Surfers (IPS) female’s surfing tour, raised Sophia in Long Beach, CA. Sophia later attended the University of Hawaii, graduating in 2013. She went on to win countless longboard contests and was a colorful personality, both in and out of the water. She was twenty-five years old.
Dreams cut short
Reports show that Sophia was traveling with her boyfriend at about 10:15 Saturday night on Waialua Beach Road just west of Haleiwa Road when the driver lost control of the car, veered into the oncoming lane of traffic and hit a large tree in a residential neighborhood. Sophia, unrestrained in the passenger seat, was badly hurt in the accident. She was taken from the scene to a nearby hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and died. Police say excessive speed and alcohol were related in the crash.
The driver, Sophia’s boyfriend, was also taken to the hospital in serious condition and was later arrested for drunk driving and other charges.
Sophia’s bright light was a beacon for many in both the surf and on the standup paddling racing circuit. Well known for her positive energy, big smile and loving personality, she ranked 12th in the Standup World Series women’s tour by the Waterman’s League in 2015. She also recently created a GoFundMe account stating her goals to achieve championship titles in 2017 in women’s racing and sup surf categories.
Athletes around the globe are grieving the loss of this young athlete who held such a promising career before her. Sophia’s talents, drive and great spiritual energy remind us all to cherish the moment and take care of each other. Rest in peace, Sophia.